New High School Building Projects Unveiled

Posted on October 31, 2023 by Staff reports

Santa Rosa County District Schools is excited to announce its comprehensive building projects, including the construction of the brand-new Southend High School, set to open its doors to students in August 2026. Furthermore, plans for a high school in the north portion of the county are in the pipeline, although no zoning discussions have been initiated for the latter project.

Superintendent Barber expressed the district’s commitment to providing the best education opportunities for Santa Rosa County students, stating, “We want to ensure that students in Santa Rosa County have the best. These new high schools are part of our ongoing commitment to provide quality education and educational facilities to our community.”

Joey Harrell, Assistant Superintendent for Administrative Services, echoed this enthusiasm for the forthcoming projects, stating “We are excited to begin the necessary steps on getting a high school in the north end of the county built. It’s been a long time coming. As the project progresses, we will, as we have in other new school projects, keep the community well informed and have open discussions with our Board members and community to do the best we can to ensure that our students have the best facilities they can to receive a stellar education from exceptional teachers and staff in Santa Rosa County.”

The new Southend High School is set to be a state-of-the-art facility, equipped to meet the educational needs of the growing student population in the Gulf Breeze/Midway/Navarre area. The district is committed to ensuring that students have access to the best educational resources, cutting-edge facilities, and exceptional educators. “This will be a three-story high school with 1,794 student stations and 75 teacher stations,” says Harrell. “This project will cost nearly $103 million to build.”

While the construction of the Southend High School is scheduled to begin soon, plans for a high school in the north end of the county are still in the initial stages, with no zoning discussions having taken place at this time. Additionally, district staff have not yet begun to evaluate the use of existing school facilities in the north once the new high school becomes operational, or the potential impact on student opportunities within the north of the county.

Over the last few years, there have been significant upgrades at District 2 schools to include:

  • Construction of the new Wallace Lake K-8 School – $38 million
  • Energy upgrades and building 13 renovations at Locklin Technical College – $939,000
  • Football field for new Football Program at Central – $341,213
  • Moving cost of 3 portable classrooms at Central – $65,458
  • Expansion of baseball/softball dugouts at Central – $33,272
  • Construction of new covered batting cages at Central – $156,051
  • AG Barn power to building at Central – $22,000
  • Outside lunch area demolition and construction of new area at Central – $98,115
  • Construction of 6 new classrooms/parking lot renovation at Jay Elementary – $2.5 million
  • Purchase of new food service equipment at Jay Elementary – $36,675
  • Purchase of new café tables at Jay Elementary – $50,490
  • Baseball/softball fieldhouse project at Jay High – $1.3 million
  • Parking lot renovation at Jay High – $110,000
  • Outside lunch area demolition and construction of new area at Jay High – $59,718
  • Purchase of new recycling equipment at Jay High – $63,300
  • Purchase of new food service equipment at Jay High – $46,664
  • Purchase of new café tables at Jay High – $12,800

“For many years, the communities of Central and Allentown have expressed their desire to have a high school that is complete with all the amenities of other high schools in Santa Rosa County. With the building of a new north end high school, the opportunity will exist to meet that need, re-purpose the current Central School building, and begin constructing new classrooms to meet the needs of a growing student population in the north using either a K-5 or a K-8 model,” says Harrell. “The intentions are to keep the existing Central School building.”

The district emphasizes that it will maintain transparency and open communication with the community and its Board members as these projects progress, ensuring that the voices of all stakeholders are heard and considered.